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February 22, 2019

DPP Haji: Obado is not above the law

Melida Auma, Mother of the slain Rongo University Student Sharon Atieno consoled by police officer after viewing the body of her daughter. ROBERT OMOLLO
Melida Auma, Mother of the slain Rongo University Student Sharon Atieno consoled by police officer after viewing the body of her daughter. ROBERT OMOLLO

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji yesterday said Migori governor Okoth Obado will be arrested if evidence links him to the murder of Sharon Otieno.

“No one is above the law, not even the governor. No one mentioned will be left out,” Haji told a press conference in Mombasa after meeting with rights lobby HAKI-Africa. He was speaking in response to a question when asked if Obado could be arrested.

Obado has neither spoken about the case nor appeared in public.

Sharon's body was discovered in Kodera forest last week after she was kidnapped by unknown people. She was abducted on Monday together with Nation journalist Barrack Oduor from a hotel in Rongo.

The journalist, who said she had confided in him, managed to escape by jumping out of a moving vehicle.

Oduor told reporters that they were lured into the abduction by Governor Obado’s personal assistant Michael Oyamo who is in custody. Oyamo will appear in court on Monday.

An autopsy revealed the university student, 26, was tortured, stabbed eight times, mutilated and raped. Her seven-month-old foetus was killed as one stab wound extended all the way to her spine.

Read: Sharon died from excessive bleeding, may have been raped – autopsy

Sharon's family and seven other people who have recorded statements with police have all implicated Obado who is said to have had a sexual relationship with the Rongo University student.

The governor's aide Oyamo could be charged this week with various offences linked to the abduction and murder.

On Friday, Obado dispatched Nairobi lawyer Cliff Ombeta and pathologist Fredrick Otieno to represent him during the autopsy of Sharon.

“We represent the interests of Governor Obado,” Ombeta said.

Related: Police to question Obado on Sharon

Yesterday Haji cautioned the public against speculation and said that due process will be followed.

“Investigations are ongoing and when there is enough evidence to warrant the arrest of the governor, we will do so," he said.

Haji revealed that he had attached his officers to the investigation team so they can put together a watertight case that can secure convictions in court.

The homicide team probing the issue asked asked the Government chemist to fast-track the DNA sampling so that they can identify the father of Sharon's unborn child.

Once the results are out, police plan to match them with Obado because Sharon's family has insisted that their daughter was carrying the governor's baby.

Also forwarded for forensic examinations are used and un-used condoms that were recovered from the forest where her body was dumped.

“The murder revolves around the unborn child so in a week’s time we should be doing DNA matching," said a police officer involved in the probe

Haji said there are many theories about the murder and police are connecting the dots to ensure that they charge the real culprits.

Pressure continued to mount on detectives yesterday to speed up investigations. Nairobi governor Mike Sonko said the evidence was available to charge suspects with murder.

"I do not even know why they are taking long to arrest the main suspects.

“They should not even dream of playing with the minds of Kenyans. Let us not lie to each other. Obado should carry his own cross. And I am telling Governor Josphat Nanok (CoG chair) not to dare issue a statement on our behalf of governors,” Sonko said.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi asked DCI George Kinoti and Haji to give the case priority.

Read: We'll charge anyone including Obado if linked to Sharon's murder - Haji

In a video that has gone viral on social media, he said he wants police to investigate a governor named as a person of interest.

He told Kenyans not to shy away from pushing for justice for Sharon.

Homa Bay woman representative Gladys Wanga, Migori woman representative Pamela Odhiambo and nominated senator Rose Nyamunga visited Sharon's home and asked the government to go for the main suspect too.

"It’s alleged the killing of Sharon and her unborn child is linked to a senior Migori official. If indeed it is true, this is shameful and unacceptable,” Odhiambo said.

The Federation of the Women Lawyers chairperson Josephine Mong’are appealed to Kenyans to stop speculating.

"The life of Sharon must be avenged through prosecution by authorities," Mong'are said.

"Social media has already crucified her. No one should have taken her life, no matter what she might have committed. Life is an inalienable right, as we say in law. It was a double murder and someone must be held to account.”

Yesterday Sharon's mother Melida Auma asked the police to ensure that they get justice as quickly as possible.

Speaking when four Woman Representatives from Nyanza visited her at their home in Magare village in Homa Bay, the family reiterated calls to expedite the probe into the death of their daughter.

Sharon’s father Douglas Otieno said the murder was traumatising.

“The matter is with the police. I pray that they help in taking action against those who mercilessly butchered my daughter,” Otieno said.

Rosa Buyu (Kisumu) and Janet Ong’era (Kisii) claimed the public know the prime suspect who should be arrested so that he can face the law.

The legislators said they were ready to record statements with the police on details of the suspects.

Buyu expressed concern that the murderers had violated traditions of the Luo community.

“It is an abomination in Luo culture to kill pregnant woman. The killers are cursed,” Buyu said.

Ong’era argued that delaying justice would hurt the family.

She said other major murder cases have gone unsolved, so there is cause for alarm.

“Kinoti should not let this matter go unresolved, as others have been,” Ongera said.

The legislators asked police to protect Nation journalist Barrack Oduor who abducted together with Sharon.

Also Read: Chorus rises for arrest of key suspects in Sharon’s murder

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